You have heard about Table Mountain, Cape Point and certainly the V&A Waterfront. Vineyards. Wine. Beaches. But have you heard about the incredible diversity of fynbos? Fynbos is the best-kept secret of the Cape and yet it is everywhere on display. The Proteas, bushes and grasses that cover the mountains and scrublands of the Western Cape constitute one of the world’s six floral Kingdoms.
It is an ancient, fascinating Kingdom that has a unique relationship with its environment. It can be touched, smelt, admired. Its subtle, herbaceous fragrance is added to lotions and smoothed onto the body. Its essential oils are natural medicines and as the wild herbs of Cape cuisine, they add not just flavour, but health-giving anti-microbial and antioxidant properties.
The other floral Kingdoms of the world are spread across vast areas of the planet but all the incredible varieties of fynbos, almost 8000 species and counting, are concentrated only along the southern coast of Africa. This unique vegetation has a rich endemic flora including rooibos, aloe and gladioli. The King Protea, South Africa’s national flower, only grows here in the wild.
Best of all, you do not even have to leave the city of Cape Town to experience fynbos. Here are three ways that Cape Grace can arrange to fit fynbos easily into your itinerary:
GENTLE WALK ON TABLE MOUNTAIN
A gentle, guided walk on the slopes of Table Mountain can be easily arranged for you by the Cape Grace concierge. You can choose from a first light walk, a fynbos sunset walk or even a full moon walk (although, for the sake of enjoying the fynbos we would suggest a daytime walk.)
The walk not only allows you to stroll amongst the fynbos but also to take in unforgettable views over the city. Known locally as the Pipetrack, the walk is not steep nor strenuous but it does cover quite some distance. It is one of Table Mountain’s oldest hiking routes dating back to 1887 when it was constructed to lay pipelines. You will enjoy mind-blowing views along the way of the city, Camps Bay, Lion’s Head and the Atlantic Ocean. The route is packed with Table Mountain’s unique fynbos and displays a wide variety of South Africa’s proteas. It takes approximately two hours each way and is recommended as a wonderful way to ease off between frantic sightseeing and shopping.
Guests can contact the Cape Grace Concierge Team at firstname.lastname@example.org to assist with booking a guided Table Mountain walk.
HIKE AND PICNIC IN SILVERMINE RESERVE
Another way in which locals enjoy their beloved fynbos is with a hike, swim and picnic at Silvermine Nature Reserve, located just south of the city, about a 20 minute drive from Cape Grace. The landscape in Silvermine is mainly covered by fynbos. A popular walk follows the Silvermine River to the reservoir where you can take a swim and enjoy a picnic. The walk takes approximately an hour and leads you past sugarcane fields, natural pools and plenty of fynbos.
If you are looking for something more vigorous, you can hike up to the Silvermine waterfall – it particularly spectacular over the winter rainy season. Another gorgeous walk leads to Noordhoek Peak. Despite the winding path, the 6-kilometre trail, that engulfs you in fynbos the whole way, is easy and offers spectacular views over the Cape Peninsula and the ocean.
FINE DINING AT CAPE GRACE
After you have enjoyed exploring fynbos in its wild, natural habitat, there’s a remarkable way that you can immerse even more fully in the fynbos experience – book a table at Signal Restaurant at Cape Grace. Here ingredients are sourced from the rugged ravines of the Cape mountains, the feral oceans, forest floors and untamed grasslands of the Cape – and remastered by award-winning chefs into a veld-to-fork dining experience like no other. There is literally nowhere else on Earth that you will be able to experience this, so needless to say, it is not to be missed.You will notice this passion for the natural fynbos of the region everywhere at Cape Grace – from the floral displays in reception to the unique cocktails in Bascule Bar. That is because there is nothing quite like touching the ancient heart of a region’s natural landscape. It sends a timeless message that evokes a primal response. It is almost sure that, of all the memories you take home with you, sharing an ozone-drenched breeze with the waxy beauty of a Pincushion Protea or the pearlescent sway of a Silverleaf Tree, will remain with you the longest. Wild, proud, unique, you haven’t really known the Cape until you’ve heard her fynbos whispering to you in the wild.